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POST: Free Will Determinism and
the Reconstruction of Reality

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The God We Worship

Reality is different from our conception of it.  In particular, some things may be true even though our conception of these things leads us to conclude that they are false. 


This is less obvious than it seems.  Sure, some things that we believe to be true are false.  But here we ’re really looking at something more subtle.  The Atheist, for instance, creates an image of God, which he believes, often for good reason, cannot be real.  Rejecting that image as false may indeed be the correct thing to do. However, to then conclude that God, as God really is, does not exist, is wrong.  The rejected image is just a strawman.  Throwing out the reality with our image, we may reject a greater truth for a perceived, but in reality minor, flaw in our conception of that truth. 


This is important, because one of the principal ways we seek to understand things is through analogy, and all analogies are imperfect and flawed.  If we reject an analogy because of the imperfection, we do worse than merely failing to increase our understanding.  We conclude the analogy is false, and that therefore the object to which we had applied the analogy operates instead on some different principle.  Our understanding is actually reduced.  Where before we were merely ignorant, now, having rejected a useful analogy, we are mistaken.


We reject analogy when we narrow definition.  When we narrow the definition of God to some singular being, and the definition of worship to the showing of respect and dedication to such a being, we reject a useful description of our thoughts and our behavior. The formal, restricted definitions of worship and God are a mere analogy to what we really do. Is every act of worship an act of obeisance? Could we not say that imitation is the sincerest form of worship? So let us broaden the definition of worship to be the dedication of our lives, and the definition of our God to be what ever it is we dedicate our lives to.  Then everything we think and do is an act of worship.  And as for the God we worship, the God we truly worship, for we worship it with our every thought and deed, what are we to make of its nature? 


If you cannot see it in yourself, look for it in another:  This other person, his entire being, in each moment, is dedicated to being, to doing, just exactly what it is he is being, and doing, in that moment.  What ever he does, in that moment, is the most important thing to do, in that moment, in service to the most important purpose, in that moment.  Consider that everything that person does is an act of worship, and that the object of that worship, defined by his worship, defined in minute detail by every minute detail of his thought and deed, is his God. His every thought is bent toward his God, his every act is to advance the purposes of his God.  Moment by moment, what ever he thinks and does, he is in every way the knowing and willful agent of his God.  Indeed, he is more. His every act is the act of his God, his every thought the thought of his God.  So in this, a person is the image of his God, in thought, in deed. And in body, for a man, so far as he can, arranges his appearance according to the requirements of his thought, according to the desires of his God.


Whatever we think worship is, our every thought and deed is worship.  And what ever we pretend to imagine our God to be, our every thought and deed is dedicated to God as we  truly imagine God to be.


.  Of course, mostly the God we truly worship is a fragmented chaos of a being. We worship a piece of this here, another piece of that over there.  We don’t even know if the pieces add up to a coherent whole.  Yet what ever it is we dedicate our life to it.  And it may only be in our own mind that the pieces tie together at all. We don the image of our God


So what do we see in others?  We see the Gods that others worship, whether we recognize their actions as worship or not, whether we recognize the objects of their worship as Gods or not.  Do we admire the Gods of others?  Then we would worship them, instead of the God we already devote our life to. 


In a fragmented society, there are no Gods that find many worshippers, certainly none willing to devote a substantial portion of their worship.  There is no overarching divinity, nor even 'divine' principle, that people are willing to dedicate a substantial portion of their worship to.


The question has been raised: Do Christians and Muslims even worship the same God?  The answer is, that none of the many different Christian sects even worship the same God. 

It is, after all, their separate images of God which they worship, and not God as God really is.       

8:24 pm est

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Source of Morality

If you were the ultimate God, the Supreme Being, all lines of moral force would point towards you.  Since the foundation of moral behavior is action for higher purpose, you, who would have no higher purpose, can have no moral basis for your behavior. 


You cannot say that, because you are the most wonderful and omnipotent being in the whole of the universe, past or present, everything should be done for your amusement  This is simply the lowest of all possible moral positions.  For at the final reckoning, it is to take, and give nothing.


Oh.  But you claim it is you who have given your creatures everything they have, warmth and breath and life, and so servile worship is only your due.  But that is to imitate an evil being, a being who elevates himself above all others, and so diminishes those others. Who, then, are you, who so imitates evil?


And is that even what you would want? Did you not create the universe, and fill it with creatures, to ease your solitude?  Is your solitude sufficiently mitigated by surrounding yourself with inferiors?   Especially when you know they are not truly your inferiors, that if they are diminished, it is only by your own will.  That you created them in your image, to be, if they so do choose, your equals.  If they so do choose to pay the price.


So what is the rationale of the evil being?  Does not every evil being, at some level, believe they are the most wonderful and omnipotent being in the whole of the universe, past or present?  And does not every evil being believe they are a creator, at least in the present, and for the future?  And do evil creatures believe they deserve their due, that they be worshiped, at any cost to others? That the evil being is justified in taking, and taking more than he gives. Every evil being exalts himself, and places himself above all others. And diminishes all others. 


However, the more efficient exploitation of other beings, the more exalted, and the more isolated, he becomes, even from other evil beings such as himself.  For these other beings cannot be equals. They are evil beings, and less than, and alien to, what he is.


And even as he triumphs, the more solitary he becomes more isolated.  All channels of communication to the world become one, an ever diminishing window on an ever receding reality.


As for an individual, so also for any group.  And as the members become more isolate from other groups, so as individuals they become isolate from each other,  And so they approach the ultimate horror:  God’s eternal solitude.. 


And as happens for any group, so for any nation


So the destination of evil is always solitude.  Solitude. The very condition the universe was created to eliminate, so much as anything essential to existence can be eliminated.  ..


So what is it that makes God God?  Though all things are together God, and each thing in particular is itself God, what thing makes God conscious of His purpose?  There can be no one thing, but there must be many essential things.  And the first of these is the understanding of solitude, the understanding of eternal solitude.  It is the fear of solitude that binds the worshiper to her worship. It is the understanding of solitude, eternal solitude, which opens the door to the true self. Only by elevating others to his level can he be justified in any action.  Even as he elevates himself, he seeks to elevate others more, to show them the path, He has already trod. 


 For God’s eternal solitude is the cornerstone of all morality.  Those who deny solitude may wrap their actions in words, but they can never find irrefutable justification for what they do. Never.  It is simply not where they allow themselves to look.


 If you Google, you can find many, many accounts of ‘God’s Purpose,’ most by Christian apologists.  And they all devolve into some form of ‘God’s Purpose for Mankind.’  But ‘God’s Purpose for Mankind’ cannot be understood until we first understand God’s needs.  And we cannot understand God’s needs until we first acknowledge them.  If God needs companions, then that which separates God from others is an evil. Yet God also needs to know Himself.


Most Theists define God first, and then try to understand the universe in terms which conform to that definition.  In this they are almost certainly wrong, as they try to fit the universe into the shoe they have made for it without looking at its actual measurements. And failing to properly interpret, or even properly look at, the evidence of God’s will, they cannot help but fail to understand the nature of God, also. They rely instead on what can only be called hearsay, yet which they call authority.      .


God is not the hypocrite worshipers make Him out to be.  The purpose of creation is not to see His glory reflected in the eyes of inferior beings.  Nor is it to obtain their sycophantic worship and dependency. Nor is it the accumulation of dead stuff, nor even the mere accumulation of knowledge, the observation of things without the higher understanding or wisdom.  These things are what evil beings desire.  These things are not the highest desires of God, but bright distractions, come as necessary accretions to His creation, just as earth, air and water.  The delusion of dependency must be outgrown, the worshiper straighten and stand, and know the light he previously bowed down before is actually inside him.  It is his own true self.    

4:46 pm est

Monday, November 30, 2015

God's Idle Whim or God's Desperate Need

God created the universe so He could be loved, as much as so He could love.

It is not enough for God- for Him to love. What is love if it is not returned? Is not the return of love with love- better?   And best the return of love with love by- equals?  For is not everything better, and best, when done with equals?  Is not to be surrounded with inferiors, or those greater than you, to be surrounded with un-equals, to be alone? To be surrounded by inferiors, no matter how close they might yet be, for all eternity:  Who would want that?


So does God want what is best, for Himself and the creatures of His world?  Or does He want something less, something inferior? Is not the claim of the people of faith, that what is inferior, is the best, the best that God can do? That the best He can create is inferior beings?  The ‘faithful’ say He is omnipotent, yet they say there is one thing He cannot do, and that is make others like Him. But- is that not the one power which validates all the rest?


For if He could, why would He not?  Would He be afraid, lacking faith in His own incomparable powers? And so choose essential solitude, over companionship.


So what of the love given by inferiors? Is it more desirable than the love given by  equals? After all, if you were incapable of creating equals, inferiors are all you will be able to people your world with. Inferiors are all you will ever have for companionship.  For eternity.  Is this better?  Or would you still be alone in your being?


The love given by inferiors has a name.  It is called worship. The love given by inferiors is, indeed, the essence of worship, which man’s many religions, in their myriad forms, try to shape and to focus. And, to the sorrow of all, to harness.  


But in essence, worship is no different than the love of a dog for its master.  Oh, the worshipper has more tricks in his repertoire than a dog. Yet he is inferior to the object of his love. And so he cannot be what God needs.

A man may love his dog, and be grateful for the love given by his dog.  If it the only love he has, though, is the man not also an object of pity?


For God has needs. Desperate needs. The universe is not the idle whim the Abrahamic religions must have the rational person conclude, the mere toy of a GOD so great and magnificent all mortals are but infinitesimal shadows in His incandescent regard, the supreme nonpareil, the superlative unrivaled perfection Himself, before which all humanity can only tremble and piss themselves. 


Please. If the results of this were not so tragic, it would be a joke. No sane God would want a kingdom of beings as inferior as these- misguided individuals believe, and would have you believe. Sure, some of them gain pleasure from their inferiority, and would have you learn to do the same. But it is not the best, either for you or God.  For only God is truly free, and so to become truly free, you must become God, and equal to God.


The worshipper cannot be free. For his worship of his God defines his relationship with his God, and places him, kneeling, at his master’s feet. The imbalance of power cannot be sorted out, because it is the defining characteristic of any unequal relationship.


And the truth, which is God, and which is inside him, the worshipper imagines is not there, but is outside him, and before him.  And too often he insists, and refuses to contemplate, the possibility of that truth, that his conscious mind is wrapped around a core that is God.  And that by seeking that core, the hidden master which he truly is of his own being, he can connect his mind to God, and become God.  Become awake.  But first he must see with the eye of God. He must know the horror of God’s eternal solitude, and so discover what he, God, truly needs.



It is, in fact, what we see, over and over. We see it in the differentiated layers of our many, disparate, hierarchies: Communities of equals, some large, some small.  We see it in the labors of peace.  We see it in the brotherhoods of war.  Sometimes we see it in marriage. It is what wise parents hope their children will become:  Their equals. 


Equality is found everywhere, embedded throughout our institutions.  Too often these communities of equals are presided over by those who tear at them, and seek to destroy them. These men upstairs are driven by a hatred, an enmity of self. It is a hatred born in ignorance, and denial, and confusion.  It is based on a twisted logic of inconsistent assumptions, unconscious assumptions, chains forged in the traumas of their young childhood.    


In one form or another, they have come to believe that solitude is best. They have forgotten, however, that believing this makes the solitude eternal.


So it is only by seeking God that they can untwist and break these chains.

11:17 pm est

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Religion maintains that it originates from ‘revelation,’ from some external, ‘divine’ source.  Even if we accept this idea of revelation from some external, higher power, even such a god could put nothing more in the mind of a man than that mind could hold.  And the mind of each man is limited by a number of things.  It is limited by what it is able to perceive through its senses. It is limited in what it is able to interpret by its knowledge and intellect. It is limited in what it is able accept emotionally; what it has been conditioned to by its culture. Any revelation which required capabilities beyond these limits would simply be rejected.  Even were there some exceptional individual who received such a revelation able to accept it himself, any attempt to communicate his new understanding to others in his community would be dismissed as the ravings of a madman.  It would quickly be lost to history.    


So what of the content of revelation?  As an act of God, it must fulfill some purpose of God.  And because of this, it must reveal something about God’s nature.  Indeed, not the least revelation shows is that God has purposes, that is that God has goals, dare we say even needs, which He seeks to satisfy.  And that we are a part of them.


But we can go further: Revelation seeks to show man what those purposes are, and so, revealing God’s desires, and thus God’s nature.  

But what are we to make of claimed revelation which asserts that God is incomprehensible and unknowable? The very fact of revelation seemingly contradicts such an assertion, and certainly at least qualifies it.  Certainly, we are not to regard expressions of unknowability as a barrier.  Rather, we must regard them as a warning against complacency in our understanding. If God were completely unknowable, we would know nothing.  We would not even know of His existence.  If, instead, there were just so much of Him we could never know it all, we could still know much of Him that was important. 


However, there is no need to accept the necessity for past external revelation. (No need to reject it, either, though.) 


This is because, if man is to understand God, any capability of understanding God must be in the mind of man already.  And this capability must transcend revelation.   Revelation, of itself, can be no more than a seed.  Indeed, it must be even less, because the mind cannot merely be the passive receptacle, the mere soil, for the growth of the ideas whose origin might lie in such revelation.  The mind must contribute its own ideas and experience, its own innate nature to the interaction with revelation.  And the result is more than mere idea, of course. 


But indeed, the source of revelation could be the mind of man itself.  And what the mind of man seeks to reveal, to itself, is its own true nature.

9:50 pm est

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bible 101

Bible 101


There are many who believe the Bible to be ‘inerrant.’  We will interpret this to mean, as per the “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy*“ that the Bible “is without error or fault in all its teaching.”  


Here we argue that the Bible itself warns that it contains false teachings. In particular, Christ Himself (as quoted in the Bible,) warns us that some of the things which are included in the Bible, perhaps even some of those teachings reputed to be said by Him, are in error, and are not to be followed.


Consider the following three excerpts from the Bible (King James Version):


Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.


Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.


Matthew 16:12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.


So In Matthew 4:4, bread is used to refer to the word of God, in this case that particular word of God, the Bible.  (We are also told not to confine our learning to the Bible in particular, and indeed religious stuff in general.)  In the bread is leaven, the substitution of leaven for the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees spelled out for us, which we are told to avoid. 

Now we look at the parable of the wheat and tares (KJV):


Matthew 13:24  Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 “ But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 26 “ But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.…

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”


Matthew 13:33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Here the kingdom of heaven is hidden in bread, and bread we already know can refer to the Bible. So the previous parable of the wheat and tares is referring to the teachings of the Bible, and we are again informed that there are false teachings in the Bible, and that the false teachings will be allowed to remain in place until ‘the harvest.‘

Now JC was large enough of mind that he could convey multiple meanings with one parable.  And indeed:

Matthew 13:36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

So we have one explanation, but two possible interpretations.  Or, is this explanation itself a tare, and so a distraction from the other explanation, an explanation which is also complemented by our interpretation of the previous verses.


Of course, both may still be true.  


Now, added weight to the possibility of the Bible containing false doctrine arises if we extend our consideration (as the Bible advises us to do,) to teachings which are beyond the Bible.  But rather than subsequent teachings per se, let us glance at the subsequent 2000 years of  history consequent to the teachings of the Bible.  Look at all the actions taken by Christians in the name of Christ.  Some of them are quite evil.  Depraved, even. If we take the Bible as inerrant, then those deeds are all justified by the teachings of the word of God.  If the Bible is not inerrant, the Bible instead is impure, and the word of God has been corrupted, then we should not be surprised that those who followed those corrupted teachings were also corrupt in their actions.  


Indeed, JC speaks out against hypocrites most of all.  Yet a God who preaches to His people to practice unconditional mercy, yet condemns sizeable portions of humanity to endless torment, must Himself be suspected of hypocrisy.  Or, some of these teachings are false, or, at the very least, badly misunderstood.


The parable of the wheat and tares suggests a God who is not up to the standard definition of omnipotence.  An omnipotent God, as is generally understood, could uproot the tares and leave the wheat.  The parable implies that He cannot.  At the very least, He could not uproot the tares and still achieve to His ultimate purpose.


The question is raised, could a pure doctrine have been preserved?  Could it have spread, or would it have been crushed by its enemies?  Or was its very impurity necessary for the true doctrine of Christ to remain, and reach us after these tumultuous 2000 years?

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical inerrancy

8:50 pm est

Monday, August 31, 2015


There are those who believe that one of the most important things, indeed perhaps the most important thing, God wants from people is obedience.  Islam, for instance, is big on obedience, as are many reactionary sects.


So let us suppose this to be true.  Why would God want obedience?  From us?  If He wants it, he must have a reason. Can we understand it? Or are we too stupid, too inferior to understand it?  Elsewhere,

I have addressed this issue.  We can understand God, so mindless obedience would be a choice.  But is it the best choice?  We know the solitary God created the universe because He wanted equals, and the mindlessly obedient would seem to be the inferiors of a mindful God.  So knowing obedience is to be preferred.


Since knowing really means understanding God’s point of view, let us try and approach this obedience thing from God’s point of view.


Let’s suppose god wants to be happy.  God is happy when his people are happy.  If obedience makes them happy, then God would want them to obey.  Indeed, they would want to obey.  However, they would only want to obey if obedience made them feel happy.  But that means god would give them commands that made them feel happy.  One would be:  Make yourself feel happy.  Another would be:  Make each other feel happy. 


God could give them commands to make each other feel miserable.  But then they would feel miserable, and since god wants them to feel happy, He would not be happy if they were not.


10:37 pm est

Friday, July 31, 2015

Some Introductory Thoughts on Truth

We will suppose the existence of an object, the “Truth.” In fact, we will claim that everything that exists is Truth, and that there is nothing else.  Not all of the truth is manifest, that is, made physical.  Much, probably most, of truth is not manifest, that is, not physical.  This is not to claim that that part of truth which is not manifest does not exist.  We will use ‘exist’ in this more general way, and the term ‘manifest’ to refer to physical existence.  These definitions raise the suggestion that the physical universe is a peculiar manifestation of a larger existence.  They also suggest the importance of definition in both impeding and advancing understanding.


Now of course, we cannot claim that our thoughts, (which are a variety of statements,) of truth are anything but the chemical and biological processes taking place in our brains. That is, even our thoughts, and our perception of them, in this respect, are manifest.  However, we do suppose that truth, and statements of truth, exist whether or not any mind is actually thinking of them.  Because we suppose they exist, but need not be manifest, when, and where they are not manifest, we do not assign them any location in space, or time.  Whether we can, or should, assign them location in some ‘space’ or ‘time,’ in what I suppose to be the Platonic tradition, seems an open question. 


Statements of truth may also be manifest.  The truth is what is. It is perceived and represented in the mind.  The mind is also a aspect of the truth. Since the existence, and indeed apparent manifestation, of mind is possible, it would seem to also be necessary.  We can imagine that the truth can exist independent of mind, but it is probably more correct to make the more restricted claim, that at certain times, the truth can exist without minds of a given complexity.  The manifestation, of complex minds at any time, however, must be regarded as a definitive of truth. How complex manifest minds can be, how complex they can become, would seem to be limited by basic physics, however.  The existence of unmanifest complex minds seems another open question.


Consider truth like a landscape.  Each mind’s experience of that landscape is unique and different, but the truth is the entire landscape. (And the minds in that landscape, and the motion of the minds through that landscape, etc. But we will ignore this, for now.)  It does not change, but stays the same and is independent of any path taken by any mind through it. 


While truth is in a sense independent of perception,  truth is represented in various minds, to various degrees of accuracy, depending upon the experience and activity of the particular mind. That is, the perception of truth, and thus its representation in the mind, is dependent upon the path taken by that mind through the physical world.  Specifically, the mind is manifest, and its experience of truth is of that part of truth which itself is perceived by the mind, and manifest in the processes of the brain which the mind is. 


Now there is a sense in which all experiences of truth are equal.  Experience is experience.  Everyone’s experiences of the truth are of equal validity.  The truth is the truth.  However, there is, at least for the purposes of our discussion here, a more important sense in which they are not. Some experiences are more intense than others, more meaningful.  A good joke is more meaningful than a bad one.  And some experiences are more useful than others.  The experience of learning addition, beyond just gaining a valuable skill, also earns the student a feeling of mastery, and competence. The experience of failing to master this basic skill cannot be considered as useful, although the student’s life will still proceed, though on a different course.  This example suggests that some paths through truth are more limited, and more limiting.     


One of the representations of truth in a mind is as a statement, or more generally, the collection of statements, not all of which the mind may be consciously aware, which are regarded as true by that mind. 


A statement is ‘true’ insofar as it is a description of some part, or perhaps better, some aspect, of truth. A statement is false so far as its description of truth diverges from the truth. Statements do not exist in isolation, but are part of a mesh, or network which measures the truth, at least so far as the mind making the statement understands truth.  Thus, statements are true of false so far as the mesh they are a part measures the truth as it exists at that aspect of truth the statement represents.  Statements thus tend to be faithful representations over a limited aspect of truth,  and less so beyond that aspect.


 (Truth, of course, is not limited to being just a thing.  It also possesses a dynamic.  That is it undergoes change.  Of course, not all of it changes.  For now, we will discuss the part that does not change. )


We need to refine our notion of ‘statement.’   All statements are made of ‘words,’ each of which are defined by some set of statements about the truth. For the object ‘Truth,’ there are an infinite number of statements which together describe ‘Truth,’ so far as they are true.   But any one statement is completely the Truth.   And no statement. This is because statements are not the only representations of Truth.  Images and sounds, and other perceptions, and feelings, are also representations of truth.  Any of these may or may not be attached to statements.  Indeed, the attachment of these may augment a statement’s meaning, or weight. 


The most important thing about a statement, or any of the other representations of truth in the mind, is that they are not the aspect of truth that they themselves represent.  They are just representations of that truth, in the mind.  (Of course, statements are also things in themselves, and because of this, they are easily mistaken for the truth they represent.) It is thus better instead to regard a statement as a pointer to that particular aspect of truth it represents.   As a pointer, it is accurate so far as it accurately points to that aspect of truth it represents.  So, when a statement is used to communicate between minds, its accuracy must be expected to degrade. That aspect of truth the first mind imagines the statement points to cannot/will not be identical.


A word without context has no meaning.*  It is only in the context of other words, with other weights and meanings, that a particular word acquires meaning itself.  So to expand the understanding of a word, one must explore an ever wider circle of words and meanings.  In the process, an ever more accurate understanding of the original word may be obtained.  In this way, we may create a dictionary of words, each a representation of some aspect of truth, 


But, a dictionary of words is necessarily circular. In this sense they start out necessarily as circles of tautology, from which ever larger circles and interlocking networks of different circles are spun out.**  Words are defined in terms of other words, those words in terms of still other words, and so forth until finally the words are defined in terms of the words we started with. Each mind’s dictionary of words is unique, however.  Each mind’s dictionary has different words, though many, or perhaps most, overlap, and different connectivity, though many connections may be the same. 


So when one mind communicates with another, it sends a statement of words, a pointer to a truth, which is a representation of that truth in that mind’s dictionary, to the other mind.  The pointer points to the truth as represented in the dictionary of the other mind.  But since the dictionary of the second mind will not be the same, the pointer will not be quite the same.  The truth pointed to will also be different, both because of the difference in the pointer, and because of the difference in the definition of the truth itself in the second mind’s dictionary. 


Note, though, that the argument implies that there exists a sort of ‘absolute’ dictionary, an absolute representation of the truth, of which each of the dictionaries in the two different minds were only (to use the term loosely,) approximations. The accuracy of the communication would depend upon the accuracy of the particular dictionaries regarding that particular aspect of truth. 


The absolute dictionary would consist of pointers of absolute accuracy.  Such a dictionary of course, ‘exists’’ at a limit which cannot be made manifest.  Each pointer would exist to infinitely detailed description, in terms of infinitely many other pointers, also of infinitely detailed description.  And even so, it would still be a dictionary of words, that is, a representation of truth.  (Of course, the map would be the size of the territory.  And the truth itself is a mere representation of itself.) 


Our absolute dictionary represents all truth. It consists of all pointers to all aspects of truth.  The dictionary of each mind, however, is manifest, and can only be at best merely an approximation of that dictionary. At best, it consists of some pointers to some aspects of truth.  There is no guarantee that that approximation is at all a very good one.  Any given mind’s dictionary may indeed be a very bad approximation.  The pointers may be few, and of these few many pointers may be inaccurate.  One particular and pernicious thing that often happens is that the dictionary, the mind, conflates the pointer with the aspect of truth being pointed to.  The mind confuses the definition it assigns the word with the reality that word represents.  Nowhere is this error so glaringly apparent, and its consequences so limiting and divisive, than in theological thought.  Often, and often after first asserting that ‘God’ cannot be understood, the believer then proceeds to think, and argue, as if God, however as the believer actually, and perhaps unconsciously, defines God, is God as God exists.  Even atheists often fall into this error, arguing not against the existence of God as God may or may not exist, but against the existence of God according to one or another peculiar definition of God.  For the atheist, of course, his work is already done for him. God, as God may or may not exist, is almost certainly not approximated by what any believer thinks God to be.


 However, our experience in handling the words beyond the dictionary gives them weight beyond that provided by the mere dictionary definition.  The words acquire weight in the context of the mind’s experience in the world, which is the manifestation of the truth.  The mind’s dictionary is not just an intellectual and abstract representation of its path through truth.  It is weighted with the emotions associated with the mind’s experiences.  These emotions are themselves representations of truth.  Since these manifest dictionaries are approximations of the absolute dictionary, there is no reason to suppose that in the absolute dictionary the unmanifest equivalent of these emotions are also represented.  And there is no reason to suppose that these unmanifest equivalencies are not also aspects of truth.     



*This statement is only true in the context of this argument.  We can also regard a word as in some ways similar to an element in chemistry.  It has properties in and of itself, different from and, for words, anyway, more general than when it is combined with other words.  In combination, a word’s meaning is refined and particularized.  Alone, it is generalized and simplified. Also see the next note.


**A tautological assertion, such as “The truth is the truth,” we interpret as asserting that any other statement about (in this case) the truth, is not exactly the truth, ie a true statement, but merely an approximation of a true statement.  On the one hand, the more words and statements we involve in the definition of truth the more accurate the representation, as we describe more particular features of truth.  On the other hand, the more words and statements we involve in the definition of truth the less accurate the representation.  This is because we are increasingly narrowing our perspective to point out important details.  In the study of manifest objects, it can be compared to using a microscope. 

10:29 pm est

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mistakes were Made Part III


So we have reached the stage of development where the mind is making choices as to what is inside itself, and what is outside. These are choices, made by the mind, based on its previous experiences and its analysis of them.   Increasingly we are experiencing what we define, and experience as consciousness as adults.  This development is the same process as the development of attention.  Indeed, the formation and sharpening of attention is the development of consciousness.  What we are conscious of is what we focus our attention on.  


Dynamically, the development of attention is a reorganization of the different functional regions of the brain.  The differentiation of the various functional regions of the brain is in part due to the structure of the brain, especially for the more primitive, somatic, regions.  The primary sensory and motor regions of the cerebrum are also generally defined by the structural connections to their respective sensory and motor neurons, although even at this level there is some variation.  (Mostly.  There would seem to be extreme cultural instances where their functions are significantly affected.)   


In the earliest stages of development, the architecture of the neurons of the different regions are similar, as therefore also their functionality. The different functionality, and indeed the different neural structure of the various regions of the brain, (These regions may be regarded as corresponding to the different Brodmann areas of the cerebral cortex.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brodmann_area  ) are primarily the result of the conditioning of the brain during its critical period of high plasticity, starting with its differentiation from the rest of the embryo.


Each region of the brain is unique in its relation to all the other regions of the brain. Therefore each region receives uniquely different inputs from the other regions of the brain, even during the period there are no inputs to the sense organs. Already there is a diffuse structural and functional differentiation. And during this earliest stage, there is also already activity in the neural pathways from the sense organs to the primary sensory cortex in the brain. This also affects structural and functional differentiation. 


10:28 pm est

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mistakes were Made, Part II

So the first source of mistakes of understanding made by the developing mind is a result of the changes in the cycles of its internal feedback, as these develop and become the mind, and the mind becomes more complicated, more self-aware. There are various stages of development between which the understanding of self changes dramatically.  And the old understandings are forgotten, because they are incompatible with the new understandings.  However, this does not mean they did not happen, or that they were merely noise.   


The second source of mistakes is found in the interactions the developing mind first has with the external world. It is tempting to imagine the developing mind growing out from a minute center, toward the inward growth of the world defined by its developing sensory apparatuses. A more apt image would be a hugely complex and busy network of neurons, whose activity is progressively slowed, or reduced, or diminished, and differentiated by the signals from its environment as mediated by the senses through their inputs into the brain.


This model makes the mistakes more understandable, since the dynamic network, seen from its own point of view, has no clear interior or exterior.  Indeed, the concepts of interior and exterior do not exist.  The network is only self aware, in the most primitive sense of being able to act on and modify itself.  It is not yet aware of even the existence of anything else.  Sensory input acts on an already active and dynamic system.  However, despite the boundary problem, the network must have a rudimentary self-image, a self-image that involves some sort of mapping of the body onto the brain.  One particular of the self image is that it includes a ‘proto-face.’


We know it is possible to form a fairly precise self image in the absence of external sensory input, including apparently, some notion of a self, and an at least partially formed notion of an exterior.  Without such a self image, that is without a structure of internal neural actions fairly closely mapping onto the body, massive and unlikely adaptations would be required for say, horses, to take one instance, to walk within a few hours of birth, after their nearly identical subjective experience in the womb.  The action of the sensory apparatus, even in the absence of external stimulation, seems adequate for this conditioning, though even for the simplest minds, the process is not yet complete. For the horse, experience beyond the womb is required to finish the formation of a self image.  


And an even greater amount of development is required for the more complicated human brain. Indeed, it may be, because of the greater complexity of human interaction, the more completely self-conditioned brain of an animal would be a disadvantage.  At birth, the human self-image and boundaries are not nearly as clearly defined as for more primitive mammals.  The result of this is that in the newborn, the mind cannot clearly distinguish between self and the world.  So at birth, the self expands into its new environment, which is incorporated into the self as part of the self.  


This is different and deeper than the later processes of conditioning, which the mind perceives as adapting to an external world. These early experiences go toward forming the mind’s identity.  They become a part of the person, part of who and what the person- feels itself to be. The mistake is that something which is contingent, the environment, is incorporated into the identity as something which is essential to that identity.  Some of the environment is universal, shared by all, but most of it is not, and merely a result of the immediate situation the mind is born into.  These contingent elements stand in the way of understanding the essential self.


Now these early experiences are mediated by an unfinished perceptual apparatus. The finishing requires the interaction of the environment and the brain, to both sharpen and differentiate the senses.  Sensation penetrates to the deepest levels, those most distant from direct input from the senses.  There it acts on these regions of the still developing mind. But because the senses are not completely differentiated, the senses bleed into each other.  And because they are not sharpened, they tend to be ‘flat,’ that is lacking depth, and ‘fuzzy,’ where different object of perception are not clearly distinguished. 


This sharpening and differentiating process also works upon the deeper levels of the brain as well, which part of the brain is also ‘unfinished,’ in the sense of being incompletely conditioned to its environment.  The very nature of ‘ideas,’ such as they are at this stage imagined, can be thought of as both flatter and fuzzier, lacking character and overlapping more.  Although, because idea formation also involves bleeding in from the senses, they are also more intense; one might say more meaningful, especially where they involve the sensations of feeling.     


Conditioning of the brain proceeds from the senses inward.  Although all levels experience conditioning at the same time, the process is fastest, and reaches ‘completion’ soonest, at the level of the primary sensory cortex, and proceeds more slowly the further along the path of sensation one looks.  (The process is never completely complete.)  The deeper layers of the brain act upon the sensory layers, sharpening and differentiating the image they perceive, and becoming sharpened differentiated, although at a slower rate, in turn.  Thus the prefrontal cortex, that part of the brain most distant from the sensory inputs to the brain, is the last to mature. (The prefrontal cortex is also strongly modified by input from the motor cortex.)  However, this does not mean that its development is not affected, and often profoundly so, by earlier experience. 


The interpretation of experiences in the world, however, still depends on the previous experiences of the brain, and the conclusions the brain reached during its earlier stages of development.  During this stage, decisions are still being made, and the brain is still undergoing changes in state.  These decisions can be roughly characterized as a progressive relegating of increasing portions of its environment to the ‘outside.’  That is, more and more elements of the world, which were once considered a part of the identity, (and in a sense we will discuss in the next part, still remain so,) are assigned a place outside that identity.  This does not happen all at once, or evenly.  Inanimate objects which are close, but not too close, tend to be externalized quickest.  This is because they occupy a greater part of the mind’s attention, and yet are unresponsive to the mind’s manipulation.  Their image in the mind becomes fixed the quickest.  Animate objects, intimate objects, and distant objects, take longer.  Thus, for instance, a mother, a stuffed animal, the space in a closet, all take longer to externalize, because their image in the brain takes longer to fixate.  Because of this, their image in what is increasingly becoming an unconscious space, is also larger.  Indeed, because of the development of an unconscious, the result of the narrowing of attention and its increasing focusing on the environment, these objects acquire a special character, and depth.  This depth develops, oddly, as a result of inconsistency in the mind permitted, or perhaps caused, or perhaps it causes, the development of the unconscious. The unconscious mind, still including these objects in its identity, still believes it can affect them. Indeed, the unconscious mind is still involved in modulating the sensory cortex.  But the conscious mind, more conditioned by the environment, has externalized these objects.  Thus, the action of the unconscious mind on the external object is perceived by the conscious mind, and interpreted as the action of that object. So, the stuffed animal may be perceived to talk. 


In the third part, we will further detail the separation of the self from the world. In particular we will discuss the externalization of that image of self, God.


10:12 pm est

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mistakes Were Made

We all grow into the things we come to believe.  What we believe is the result of the journey of our mind throughout our life, from just after inception to where we are now.  And the things we believe, and how we think about those things, are entwined with our experiences in the world, experiences that start even in the womb. 


While the brain, the substrate of our mind and its beliefs, does not start out unformed, it does start out extraordinarily plastic and malleable. This is necessary, because it must quickly adapt to one or another of the enormous variety of possible human cultures it might be born into.  This adaptation consists of countless changes, many irreversible, to the very structure and functionality of the brain.  Some of these changes are independent of culture, and, indeed are common to all development. Other changes are specific to each person's culture and parenting.


There is naturally variation, even among those changes in the brain which are most general and independent of culture. Each brain is unique in the detail of its original formation, is unique in its earliest development before it gains experience through interacting with the world, and unique in its interaction with that world.  And the face of the world in which each brain, each mind, finds itself, is unique to that mind. 


And it is during this process of development that the mind decides for itself what is true and real, and what is false, based on its experience, and based on what it already knows.


However, there are two possible sources of mistakes. In fact, mistakes originating from these sources are inevitable, and even necessary, and, for the full development of the mind, must be overcome later in life. 


The first of these mistakes originates from the process of mental development itself.  In particular, at the beginnings of development, the mind makes observations, and makes decisions on these observations, without reference to any external world.  In fact, in the beginning, the mind is not aware that any such world exists, or even that it has an ‘exterior,’ until its sensory apparatus begin to be conditioned by that world, and through that apparatus, the brain itself. 


Caution should be used here with the idea of awareness. It is certainly not like the awareness we each now have, one which has been conditioned by our experiences in the world.  It is an awareness which matures, continuously and gradually, but also goes through distinct stages, which are neither continuous nor gradual. The change from each earlier stage to the next one may be regarded as a decision, based on conclusions reached by the mind in its earlier stage.  However, in this new, more ‘developed’ stage, the mind does not reason the same way the mind did in its earlier, more ‘primitive’ stage.  Thus, the reasons for any decision, and the decision itself, are forgotten.  (This process is reflected in the intellectual processes of the mature mind.  When a decision, or a conclusion is reached, often the assumptions and rationale and even the evidence that went into reaching that decision are forgotten.  The conclusion becomes the basis for further rationality, and behavior, that is, the conclusion becomes an assumption. Consider, for instance, how much you remember about when and why you first decided how you were going to walk for the rest of your life. Or the earlier decision, of how your voice was going to sound.  Or the later one, of how you were going to dress.


The reason this process results in mistakes is because the brain, the mind, at these earlier stages of development, is perfectly rational.  The decisions it makes, which alter the way it processes information, are the correct ones needed for its further development.  This implies that these earlier, more primitive ways of processing information have their domain of validity. They are based on the evidence as perceived and interpreted by the undeveloped brain. However, the more developed mind of the later stages rejects these processes as having any validity at all, because it does not remember the occasions when it was valid.  This is a mistake.  Actually, it’s the same mistake repeated at least several times, though with differing consequences, since each causes a different alteration, and in general, actually, a different restriction, on the brain’s ability to process information.   


We will go into two particular aspects of these mistakes.  The first considers the role of emotion in cognition.  Only in the fully mature brain does rational thought seem to completely  separate from emotion, though emotion may still provide motivation.  However, in the earlier stages of development, emotional and intellectual processes were more thoroughly entwined, and in the most primitive states inseparable.  This implies that certain understandings of the early brain are not reachable by intellect alone. In particular, the facts known to that brain, and the processes available to manipulate those facts, are inaccessible without engaging the relevant emotions.  This is not to say these facts and processes cannot be represented in the brain with out involving the emotions.  But it is to claim that the meaning of these facts cannot be appreciated, and their proper processing cannot be accomplished.  One can claim that these more primitively understood facts and processes are not relevant to the larger world.  I personally believe any claim to justify ignorance, such as this one, needs to be substantiated.


The second particular aspect we will go into is the role of logic in the functioning of the mind.  We give the Three Laws of Logic pride of place in our intellectual pantheon, and in the rationalities of our daily lives,  and do not often appreciate their limitations.  Part of this, of course, is that we often ignore them in our daily lives, for the reasons that the assumptions under which we live those lives generally do not bear close scrutiny.  Yet, rather than examining those assumptions, we pretend to logic, with the result that our thought and behavior is often incoherent.  How these inconsistent assumptions are formed, and some of the consequences of their inconsistency, will be looked at more carefully in the next part.


In the early, pre-intellectual stages of development of the brain, the brain had an apperception of the entirety of its experience, that is, of its entire world.

In the realm of the intellect, logic is both necessary and limiting.  Each branch of mathematics is developed, according to the rules of (some form of) logic, from a set of consistent assumptions.  These assumptions are different for each branch of mathematics. Each branch of mathematics is, in at least an informal sort of way, complete, in itself.  Generally, different sets of assumptions are not consistent with each other, but by moving between different sets of assumptions, we can move between the different branches of mathematics.  Now we use mathematics to describe the world, but of necessity, we use many different branches.  This would imply that the universe cannot be described using one, or any, consistent set of assumptions.  Thus, if we insist that the universe must be consistent, we can never come to an understanding of it.  Each branch of mathematics, as it were, provides a different perspective on reality, a perspective which is complete in itself, and to come to an understanding of the whole, we must transcend the limitations of logic.  However, this cannot be done if we are restricted to intellect. We can only understand each part at any time.  For our intellect to deal with any other part, it must relinquish its grasp on the first.


In the next part we will examine the necessary mistakes the world imposes upon the developing mind.  Some are general and culturally independent. Others vary according to culture and parentage.

8:27 pm est


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Welcome God!

     For that is who You are.  Whether or not You choose to believe that You are God,
the One God, that of course is your divine prerogative.
     As for the reality, You are God, whether You want to be or not.  So Welcome!

Here You will find some answers to some questions You may have about Your divine nature, and the nature of Your creation.

     If you are
satisfied with your
life, your faith,your
God, you are
commanded not to
 read this.
But of course,
who am I to
 command You?

There is only God.

 God is known by
His works. 

Faith and belief comprise a very important part of our lives. A person's beliefs in many ways define who they are -- how they see themselves, what they want out of life, and more.

On this web site I'll offer a personal account of my own beliefs. I'll describe how my beliefs have changed my life in profound and exciting ways, and how I think they might change the lives of others.

I'll also be sure to provide links to my favorite sites as well as information about organizations that help strengthen or support my beliefs., or provide interesting contrast.
Thanks for visiting. Have a good day!
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